Visionary Life Magazine | Summer 2022

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o h LADIESWLEVERAGE

VISIONARY LIFE

W W W . L A D I E S W H O L E V E R A G E . C O M

Shocked. Rocked. Locked.

Flow

5

WITH THESE 5 TIPS

How a young entrepreneur WENT FROM

PowerPoint to

POWER MOVES

SHIFTING

Criticism

TO COLLABORATION


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ADVERTISE WITH US! US GET YOUR BUSINESS IN FRONT OF YOUR IDEAL CLIENT!

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CONTACT

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CONTENTS

7

SHOCKED, LOCKED, AND ROCKED: Rewiring the Brain for Success

Find your inner strength. Activate resiliency. You CAN overcome difficult circumstances.

9

FIND YOUR FLOW STATE

5 steps to get focused and be in your zone.

11

THE SCIENCE OF STRESS

4 tips to destress and live a happier life.

CONTRIBUTORS “VISIONARY LIFE” SQUAD: Publisher: Kelly Charles-Collins, Esq., MBA Editor: Paige Maria Fickbohm Executive Assistant to Publisher: Mary Joy Blanco

17

HOW A YOUNG ENTREPRENEUR WENT FROM POWERPOINTS TO POWER MOVES

One-woman influencer turned globally recognized 7figure international business.

27

LEADERSHIP SKILLS: SHIFTING CRITICISM TO COLLABORATION

How constructive criticism becomes the start of innovation, not the end of a conversation.

Creative Design & Layout: Mary Joy Blanco, Kimp.io

CONTRIBUTING WRITERS: Amber Gibson

Pamela Georgiana

Angela Repke

Haley Greene

Aleenah Ansari

Sarah Cannata

Melissa Watkins

Kathy Condon

Mackenzie Breneman

Fran Garton

Jackalyn Beck

Debbra Sweet

Cindy Constable

Cover pHOTO:

31

Lamonte Gwynn, Platinum Media Productions

I MADE THE SWITCH FROM CONSULTANT TO TRAVEL WRITER. HERE'S HOW I DID IT

6 steps to start travel writing.

35

USING YOUR CYCLE TO EMPOWER YOUR WORK

How to use your menstrual cycle to your advantage.

LEGAL DISCLAIMER: The information contained herein is for informational purposes only. Ladies Who Leverage, including but not limited to, Ladies Who Leverage Visionary Life Magazine, HR Legally Speaking, LLC, nor any of its owners, employees, contractors, partners, affiliates, members, insurers, and/or subsidiaries (collectively “Ladies Who Leverage”) assume liability or responsibility for any inaccurate or incomplete information, nor for any actions taken in reliance thereon. All readers are encouraged to do their due diligence and seek appropriate legal, medical, tax, or other necessary professional advice prior to taking any action based on the information contained herein. The information provided in the articles and advertisements have been provided by the writers and/or the business. Any questions or concerns about the information contained therein or any services or products should be directed directly to that writer or business. The opinions expressed in each article are those of the contributors and does not necessarily reflect the opinions of Ladies Who Leverage, therefore, we assume nor carry any liability whatsoever for the opinions expressed herein.

CONTACT: assistant@ladieswholeverage.com Advertising Inquiries: www.LWLMagazine.com © 2022 All rights reserved. Ladies Who Leverage Visionary Life Magazine.

39

FOUNDER'S FUEL

6 healthy snacks to keep at your desk.

LadiesWhoLeverage.com | 4 | Summer 2022


Are you ready to live life unapologetically AF? This book is not for the faint of heart. It’s for women who want to learn how to anticipate, short-circuit, and out-navigate the people, places and predicaments that will keep them from being great. In Unapologetic AF, Kelly Charles-Collins shares her life lessons, strategies, and wisdom gained from a personal and professional life of twists, turns, and detours. From a single mother on welfare to powerhouse attorney and multiple six-figure professional speaker and CEO, Kelly reveals:

·

the conflicts that became lessons

·

the diversions and detours that shaped who she has become

·

the moments that led her to owning her power

·

the techniques that have paved the way for her success

In her salt of the earth, unapologetic AF style, Kelly guides you through 34 ways she unleashes her badassery as she navigates this journey called life. Wherever you are on your journey, Kelly’s strategies and techniques will empower you with the courage to unleash you inner badass - no matter what - so you can live life unapologetically AF.

www.KellysAmazon.com


Founder & Publisher's Letter Finding your flow. In our last issue, we talked about momentum. I encouraged you to "Sit. Don't Stay," because progress requires action. In this issue, we are focused on finding our flow, because momentum grows your business, finding flow fuels it. Being in the flow means being in alignment with our highest purpose and operating at peak performance. It is a state of focus and creativity that we experience when our natural skills align with the challenges we face. When we find our flow, the pieces seem to fall into place and we feel a sense of ease and joy. The flow is what we all strive for. It's that sweet spot where we're living our best lives and doing what we're meant to do. The women featured in this summer issue of Visionary Life have discovered their purpose, taken risks, and followed their dreams.They understand what it means to find their flow. After reading this powerful collection of inspirational stories and helpful guides, I encourage you to reflect and take action towards finding your flow. So find a quiet spot, pour yourself a refreshing drink and settle in. It's time to dive into this issue of Visionary Life and find your flow.

Kelly Charles-Collins

Kelly Charles-Collins Esq., MBA

The Speaker Mogul & Founder of Ladies Who Leverage

@kellycharlescollins | @LadiesWhoLeverage | @speakermoguls @kellycharlescollins | @LadiesWhoLeverage @hrlawattorney kellycharlescollins

LadiesWhoLeverage.com | 6 | Summer 2022


Shocked, Locked, and Rocked: Rewiring the Brain for Success

By: Debbra Sweet

I

pedaled across the finish line to complete a 52 mile fundraising bike-a-thon, the June midday sun warming my back. For my cool down, I rode to where my car was parked. I scanned for cars, not a car in sight. Still moving fast, I turned into a narrow driveway nestled between two large concrete buildings. Suddenly, I saw a car behind me. I moved my bike over to the narrow sidewalk to give the car plenty of room to pass. When suddenly, I felt the bike go out from underneath me. Like a pro ball player sliding into home plate... I was sliding over the handlebars.

with specialists and underwent extensive rehab to rehabilitate my brain. I was willing to go all in. The doctors said it would take a year, but it took five. During that time I rewired how my brain works. After two years, I dove deep into trauma healing. In healing from the inside out, I started removing layers of trauma wounds & battle scars. Each layer shed is another step up into strength. Recently, I fully emerged from my decades long quest to be whole, healthy and loved! I released my survival suit of armor! I unhinged the anchor of traumas of being disconnected, shocked, locked and rocked. Initially I felt fully exposed and vulnerable. In these moments, I found true strength. By saying yes to healing, I said yes to learning to love, accept, and show all facets of myself.

Lessons Learned

WHAM!

Change the brain, change the game – I am no longer a victim. Changing my mind has helped me stand as a victor, confident in my completeness. I’ve also learned how to ditch the disconnect, overcome overwhelm, and move past the wall that was holding me back.

My head slammed into the concrete wall. I dropped to the ground face first.

Here are three trailblazing tips from my time on the rehab table – use them when you feel you’ve hit your “wall”.

Startled and stunned, I pushed up and looked around. The car was gone, my new touring bike was on its side, wheels still spinning.

But that moment of impact might have actually saved my life. It taught me that my inner warrior; she’s tough. Resilient. Determined. Shocked. Locked. And Rocked.

Upon impact my whole body was shocked. The depleting emotional state I’d been living in was locked and the very core, the very foundation of who I was and everything I ever knew completely rocked. But that moment of impact might have actually saved my life. It taught me that my inner warrior; she’s tough. Resilient. Determined. To the outer world I appeared steadfast, a high achiever, gaining success focused on a career in music and business. But my private world was shattering. Not once, not twice, but three times over the next 30 years- life would knock me down and evel me out physically - but not my inner spirit.

Growth and Healing

Seven years ago, I discovered I had been living with a severe traumatic brian injury from that bicycle accident all those years ago and worked

LadiesWhoLeverage.com | 7 | Summer 2022

Want positive outcomes? It’s imperative to start changing what you focus on and what is influencing your senses. Most people stay stuck and re-trigger trauma through hyper-focusing on the very things they say they do not want!


1. Clarify Your Vision.

Your vision should be clear, concise, and laserfocused. Doing anything without a clear vision of the outcome will keep you spinning your wheels. Your vision should be the compass for your goals, and it enables you to be flexible while you reach your desired outcome.

2. Ditch the Disconnect

Compartmentalization only works in closets! Not in life or in business. Living in disconnect impacts EVERYTHING.Make sure what you say, how you feel, how you act, and what you do are all in one accord. If you aren’t able to find alignment, this means you’ve compartmentalized your life and possibly your business.It’s time to ditch the disconnect and heal whole.

3. Full or Focused

During rehab, I lived life without any filters. My brain was always in a state of overwhelm. Slightest little things triggered seizures. This impacted my ability to walk, talk, function and remember. Part of my rehabilitation focused on rebuilding brain filters to protect me from overwhelm. This is where I learned ‘Full or Focused’. For months I retrained my eyes and brain to either use ’intentionally focused sight’ or shift into whole, peripheral vision scoping out 180-degree view surroundings. Here’s how this principle benefits you – essentially, what you think on is what you get. Most people are not mindful of their thoughts, focus, or how they feed their brain. Feeding your mind daily with negative images, thoughts, stories, or staying around people who are negative, attracts negativity into your life and your business.

Want positive outcomes? It’s imperative to start changing what you focus on and what is influencing your senses. Most people stay stuck and re-trigger trauma through hyper-focusing on the very things they say they do not want! Tired of adverse circumstances that continually repeat? Stop hyper-focusing on the negative. Choose to walk away, turn off the news, stop reading drama filled newspaper stories. You have the choice and the ability to shift into full and find the good. Freedom comes when you’re able to practice the principle of ‘full’. Full means opening up, taking in your surroundings, allowing new input to show up without judgment. Assess your input – full or focused? Make wise decisions with all the details, all the facts for the short-term and long-term. Find your inner strength. Activate resiliency. You CAN overcome difficult circumstances, become whole, and more successful and stronger than you already are.

Debbra Sweet

Helps Leaders Ditch the Disconnect. Energize Their Brand, Business, & Leadership Presence! She’s a ♥ Business & Brand Strategist ♫ Edutaining Motivational Speaker ♥ NYT Best Selling Author, Performer. Debbra is recognized as one of the most inspirational women, a woman breaking barriers and continues to lead business owners to thrive, achieve goals with her CORE 4™ Process. Get more tips for overcoming overwhelm at www.TrailblazingTips.com Debbra Sweet

LadiesWhoLeverage.com | 8 | Summer 2022


Find Your

Flow

State

With These 5 Tips By: Jackalyn Beck

P

eople look everywhere for new ways to save time or be more productive. Yet, most are missing out on one of the most powerful productivity tools - flow state. Flow is being fully immersed in what you’re doing or being “in the zone.” Focus is like a muscle, so over time it will get easier to tap into peak productivity. While it might seem difficult at first, it is easy to trigger flow by removing distractions, being mindful, and getting comfortable.

Remove Distractions Flow is a state of uninterrupted focus. That means you need to turn off your phone, notifications and, yes, close your email. If you are a busy body like I am, it will be difficult at first but it is worth the effort and will get easier over time. If you absolutely can’t turn it off, put your device on do not disturb mode and store it out of sight. Removing distractions might also mean closing the door and letting others know you’ll be working. Don’t underestimate the power of a “do not disturb” sign or color changing lights to indicate that you are busy.

LadiesWhoLeverage.com | 9 | Summer 2022

Listen To Music, Or Not While many people like listening to music while they focus, everyone is different. It’s common to listen to instrumental or otherwise non-intrusive music. Binaural beats are also popular but you might prefer complete silence. Whatever you choose, make sure the music or ambient sounds doesn’t distract you. When you successfully complete a flow session, write down details like what you were working on and listening to. Everyone is different. Figuring out what doesn’t work is just as valuable as finding what does.


LadiesWhoLeverage.com | 10 | Summer 2022


The Science of Stress 4 Tips to Destress and Live a Happier Life By: Fran Garton We have very limited control over external stressors, as they include other people’s opinions and actions, while internal stressors include our own thoughts, actions, mindset, and responses – the things we can control. Identifying stressors as either external or internal can reduce stress by giving you a realistic perspective on what can actually be controlled.

I

gnoring stress levels can significantly impact your physical and mental health. Take it from me – not paying attention to my own stress had me bedridden with vision loss for four months. In this article, we’ll dive into the types of stress you may be experiencing and discuss how to mitigate that stress and maximize your time.

Identifying Your Stress Before diving into how to manage stress, let’s look at different types of stress you may be experiencing. The most common stressors are finances, relationships, work, health, and life changes. However, not all stress is bad. We have all experienced eustress (“good” stress), which creates feelings of joy, control, productivity, and allows for growth. Eustress is a result of positive life changes like getting married, having a baby, or landing your dream job. On the other hand, distress (“bad” stress) is a type of stress which leaves us feeling out of control and is characterized by feelings of anxiety, depression, powerlessness, and can significantly impact your health. We have very limited control over external stressors, as they include other people’s opinions and actions, while internal stressors include our own thoughts, actions, mindset, and responses – the things we can control. Identifying stressors as either external or internal can reduce stress by giving you a realistic perspective on what can actually be controlled.

LadiesWhoLeverage.com | 11 | Summer 2022

The Effects of Stress While a little bit of stress can be beneficial, chronic stress can wreak havoc on both your physical and mental health. One of the main ways stress manifests itself is through our adrenal glands. The adrenal glands are responsible for producing hormones like cortisol and adrenaline, which help us respond to stressors. Cortisol is often referred to as the “stress hormone” because it helps us deal with immediate danger by giving us a burst of energy. This is known as the fight-or-flight response and is beneficial in small doses. However, when we experience chronic stress, our adrenal glands can become overworked, leading to an increase in cortisol production. Inability to effectively manage stress can lead to a variety of physical manifestations and health problems including muscle and joint pain, headaches, fatigue, sleep problems, eczema, irritability, anger, frustration, digestion issues, lack of motivation, over/under-eating, weight gain/loss and hives.

Managing Your Stress There are a variety of effective methods for managing stress, and the best approach is often a combination of different techniques. The following strategies will help you mitigate the stress in your life and set you on the path to a healthier, happier you.


1. Eliminate the Stressors We have the power to reduce and/or eliminate a lot of the stress in our lives. Start by creating a list of stressors, making sure they are specific. For example, if cooking is a stressor in your life, you’d want to identify which parts of cooking are causing stress: meal. prep, clean up, planning a weekly menu, etc. Then, using the 3D approach, you can decide, delegate, or delete. Go through your list and label each stressor with one of the 3Ds, this will help you get a realistic perspective on how to navigate the stressors in your life. As you perform this exercise, keep in mind which stressors are external and internal, noting that external stressors can usually be crossed off the list.

2. Take a Breath After taking the time to eliminate stressors, it’s important to take a step back and assess how you’re currently managing stress. Deep breathing is a simple stress relieving technique that has a calming effect on the body. This is because breathing influences the function of the Sympathetic Nervous System (SNS). When you hold your breath, that triggers the SNS into thinking there is danger and the body needs to go into fight or flight mode. So, when you are feeling stressed, controlled and relaxed breathing sends a message to the SNS that everything is okay and we are safe. Tips for effective breathing: As you inhale, take five seconds to breathe in, like you are smelling a rose. For the exhale, imagine you are blowing out a candle for five seconds. Your chest and abdomen should rise and fall together.

4. Meditate Meditation is a simple, yet effective stress relief technique that has been practiced for thousands of years. Meditation allows you to quiet the mind and focus on the present moment. This can help you feel more grounded and clear-headed, so you can better manage stress. Through meditation, you can improve your sleep, regulate your breathing, and refocus your thoughts. The best part about meditation is that it is inexpensive, can be done anywhere, and there is no “right” way to do it. You can meditate for as little as five minutes a day, or for longer periods of time if you prefer. The key to meditation is gently pulling your focus back to the mediation when you notice your mind wandering. Guided meditation can be helpful for beginners, as it can provide structure and direction. Try it HERE.

Taking Control of Your Stress

3. Exercise Exercise is one of the most effective stress relievers, as it releases endorphins and provides distraction from the sources of stress in our lives. As little as 30 minutes of moderate exercise can help improve mood and reduce anxiety. And, the benefits of exercise are cumulative, meaning the more you do, the better you’ll feel. Gentle practices like QiGong, Tai Chi, or Yoga are beneficial for stress relief because they focus on the breath and connect the mind and body. These practices can help increase mindfulness, improve sleep, and reduce stress hormones like cortisol. In addition, running, lifting weights, and even dancing can reduce stress. Whatever movement you choose, make sure you enjoy it, so it doesn’t feel like another chore on your list.

While stress is a normal and necessary part of life, it’s important to find healthy ways to manage it. By taking the time to eliminate stressors, breath, exercise, and meditate, you can be on the path to a healthier you, fully equipped to take on everyday challenges. I challenge you to commit to one strategy for two weeks. Grab a notebook and track your feelings along with any changes you start to experience. Through this exercise, you will start to discover new strategies to keep your stress at bay!

Fran Garton @frangartonpaincoach

LadiesWhoLeverage.com | 12 | Summer 2022


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LadiesWhoLeverage.com | 16 | Summer 2022


How a Young Entrepreneur Went From E

very entrepreneur starts withBy: a dream. Whether Melissa Watkinswe start with a side hustle,

a freelance gig, or a kitchen production line, usually the goal is to make our business into a full time income, gain financial independence and maybe manage a small staff. But what happens when a small business grows beyond its founder’s wildest dreams? That’s exactly what happened to 32-year old Courtney Allen, the CEO of presentation design firm 16x9. She started as a freelancer on Upwork creating Powerpoint presentations for company meetings, with the goal of having a small boutique business that would fund a lifestyle of travel and comfort. Freelancing led to relationships with top companies like Mobil, Exxon, Microsoft, and Bloomberg, and eventually, Courtney had to delegate some of the work she acquired to stay afloat. Her one-woman freelance operation has now turned into a globally recognized company with a team of ten, a million dollars in annual revenue, and offices in Atlanta and Seoul. Courtney went from an anonymous Upwork profile to being covered in Business Insider and the book Mastering Upwork. But despite the grace with which Courtney carries her leadership ability, the process was anything but easy.

We asked Courtney to give us some insights on her work, her leadership style, and how she grew professionally alongside her business.

Who She Is Before becoming a business owner, Courtney was a freelance presentation designer for companies like Cisco and The Home Depot. Although Atlanta is her stateside home base now, she also spent a lot of time in Idaho, where she attended Boise State University. She chose design as a major because she enjoyed it but also because it had the potential to be lucrative. In her case it was, and she quickly moved from designer to project manager to freelancer. She’s very clear that her business success is a gateway to living the life that she wants to live, and not the other way around. She didn’t originally intend to become a CEO. Initially, her goal was to build a lifestyle business as a small entrepreneur that would enable her to travel, set her own hours, and live comfortably.

How She Did It After completing a contract with Cisco, Courtney decided to branch out on her own by creating a freelance profile on Upwork at the end of 2015. She set her rates at $27 an hour for presentation design work and hoped for the best. Within six months, the incoming workload became too much to handle, so she reached out to her former colleagues in the design industry. She started with one contractor, and eventually hired five of her former colleagues–including her previous boss–by May 2017. That’s also when 16x9 was established as a company, rather than a loose collection of freelancers. Courtney attributes her success to networking and maintaining good client relationships. She sends cards and is always sure to answer emails and calls with a personal touch. Client satisfaction is a priority for her, and with more than 350 clients in just one year, it obviously gets results.

LadiesWhoLeverage.com | 17 | Summer 2022


PowerPoints to Power Moves In 2018, Courtney brought on an executive assistant and a project manager to add more structure and process to an operation that she admits “was only held together with [her] memory.” But by 2021, 16x9 had reached a turning point. With a staff of 3 full time employees and a rotating cast of a dozen parttimers and freelancers, a decision had to be made; stay small, or let the company grow? The decision wasn’t hard. With the company doing about $400,000 a year in revenue, Courtney hired another full time project manager and let the company grow far beyond her original vision. Between March 2021 and March 2022, 16x9 passed the million dollar mark, earning 1.3 million dollars in revenue.

How She Made The Switch The biggest game changer on Courtney’s road from small business entrepreneur to global company CEO was bringing in good project management talent. Because the original scope of the business was so small, 16x9 didn’t even have a website until early 2022. Bringing in people who could implement process and structure and add greater legitimacy to the business was key. Her professional money management skills also needed a review. From the start, Courtney set a policy of always paying freelancers on time, even if clients don’t always pay on time or at all. At times this saw her dipping into her personal checking account to pay talent while she waited on past due invoices. This obviously couldn’t continue as the company grew. One of the first orders of business as 16x9 expanded was to establish a cash reserve in the business to bring in consultants, pay for training and stay on top of hiring costs. Having a cash reserve on hand in addition to high revolving revenues have kept the operating costs from becoming a source of stress. Courtney and her team took the time to work through money issues early to ensure that the business would be financially secure in addition to being profitable. Finally, her leadership skills needed to be developed to keep the company on track. As a freelancer, self-management skills were Courtney’s primary focus. Transitioning from a solo act to managing a team of 10 required her to develop a new skill set. In anticipation of this, she proactively invested in leadership skills training and teamwork coaching for herself. She prioritized empathy, professional relationship building, and learning how to make her naturally quiet, introverted personality a strength in the workplace. This helped her deal with imposter syndrome and build confidence as her work moved her into professional places she wasn’t expecting.

What’s Next? The future of 16x9 looks bright. Courtney sees no reason why the business shouldn’t continue to grow and expand. But after working non-stop for nearly seven years to get things off the ground, a rest is in order for the company’s founder. With that in mind, Courtney has been focusing a lot of her energies this year on prepping the company to run without her day to day presence so that she can take a well-deserved work sabbatical. After this year, she hopes to focus more on developing the international office established in South Korea last year. And after that? Courtney always comes back to her ultimate focus–a lifestyle funded by financial success, not devoted to it. She’s open to the idea of having 16x9 acquired by a larger agency so that she can move on to other ideas when the time comes.

Melissa A. Watkins @equalopportunityreader

LadiesWhoLeverage.com | 18 | Summer 2022


GIVING UP THE CORNER OFFICE FOR ENTREPRENEURSHIP AND STARTING OVER IN YOUR FORTIES

The Journey Begins After working in finance for the majority of my career, I was well versed on the topics of saving, investing, and building credit. The more I learned, the more I realized that to get closer to financial independence, I needed a way to earn more money. This realization sparked my entrepreneurial journey as I discovered the world of the side

A

t 24 years old, I started working as the office manager for a regional brokerage firm. Over the next two decades, I held various roles that included Financial Advisor, Customer Service Manager, Branch manager before transitioning to a role in government finance. There, I was responsible for overseeing a multimillion dollar budget, pension funds, union negotiations, contracts, purchasing, legislative policy, public relations, updating policies and procedures, and a multitude of other tasks. I enjoyed the fast pace of working for the city and being able to see the impact of our work on the local community – but something inside of me was calling for more.

LadiesWhoLeverage.com | 19 | Summer 2022

hustle. Initially I started out in the direct sales space, commonly referred to as multi-level marketing. This allowed me to work around my job, kids, and regular life responsibilities and still earn additional income. However, I quickly realized that what I was truly after was freedom. This realization led me to open my own consulting company. I had a valuable skill set that allowed me to represent not only an underserved community, but build a profitable business that I could eventually pursue full time.


LadiesWhoLeverage.com | 20 | Summer 2022


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Tips to Help You Stand Out on LinkedIn If you are navigating a job search or career transition, you’ve probably gotten the advice to update your resume - but what about your LinkedIn profile? Over the years, I’ve worked with hundreds of job-seekers and students, encouraging them to think of their LinkedIn as a living document. The same goes for you! Your LinkedIn page should be as dynamic as you are. When you take the time to update your LinkedIn and contribute to conversations on the platform, recruiters who are looking for candidates who match their posts or skillset can still find your profile, even if you aren’t actively applying. Whether you’re refreshing your LinkedIn profile or setting it up for the first time, here are 5 tips to get started.

Tip #1: Identify relevant keywords and add them to your profile Comb through the job descriptions of companies and roles you are interested in. Use those keywords (when applicable) in your headline, about section, work experience, and skills section. While you’re at it, take out the word “aspiring” – you’re not an aspiring designer, writer, or researcher – you’re doing the work! You can also use the “Open to work” feature and add these job titles so recruiters know what you’re looking for. Do your research. Know what job titles align with your interests so you can add them to your profile accordingly! Be aware that sometimes, the same job title will be called something different depending on the company. A content designer role at Microsoft or Meta may be called a UX writer role at Squarespace or Spotify. YOUR PROFILE SHOULD HAVE KEYWORDS AND SKILLS IN 3 MAIN AREAS: Your headline: The headline is a great place to add your current title and company along with other key roles and responsibilities. You can also add your alma mater if you want to connect with colleagues who went to the same school. Your “about” section: The “about” section can serve as an elevator pitch to summarize your current and past experience. Use the space to tell the story of your relevant transferable skills and how it prepared you for the role you want next. Your skills: Add skills to your profile that align with the job descriptions of jobs in your industry. You can add up to 50 skills – don’t be shy! From there, you can request endorsements and testimonials from other colleagues that can be added on your profile. LadiesWhoLeverage.com | 23 | Summer 2022


Tip #2: Show, don’t tell. By adding in rich media (links, articles, photos, etc.), you can actually show your work – rather than just listing it on your profile. Adding these elements will not only give you a chance to highlight your skills and expertise, but it will also show recruiters who you are, offering a personal touch.

SOME IDEAS FOR RICH MEDIA TO ADD TO YOUR PROFILE: Your portfolio: If you have a website or blog, make sure to include the link on your profile. You can also upload PDFs of your work. Photos: Add a professional headshot as your profile photo. If you want, you can also add photos of you in professional settings or at industry events. These could be photos of you speaking at a conference, networking, or working on a project. Videos: You can upload videos to your profile or post links to videos of you talking about your work or presenting. This is a great way to showcase your personality and give recruiters a sense of who you are. Articles: LinkedIn allows you to publish articles on their platform. This is a great way to show off your writing skills and share your thoughts on industry news or trends. You can also add links to articles you’ve been featured in.

Tip #3: Contribute to conversations. As LinkedIn’s Global Head of Audience Engagement Maya Pope-Chapell suggests, try dedicating 15-30 minutes a day to comment on posts and add your perspective. Not only does this help you stay up-to-date on what’s happening in your industry, but it also allows you to share your voice and be seen as a leader in your field.

WHEN YOU ENGAGE WITH POSTS, MAKE SURE TO: Add value to the conversation by sharing your insights and expertise. Be respectful of others’ opinions – even if you don’t agree with them. Be aware of the tone of your comments. If you wouldn’t say it in person, don’t say it online! I like to create content in response to common questions I receive from clients and mentees. In addition, I often share my learnings from events, free speaking opportunities, and updates about new stories I am working on.

LadiesWhoLeverage.com | 24 | Summer 2022


Tip #4: Send personalized connection requests. When connecting with people, personalize your request and let them know why you want to connect. For example, if you meet someone at a networking event, send a connection request with a message that highlights your shared experience. That way, if you want to reconnect months later, that first message can be a reference of how you first met and what you may have discussed. HERE ARE A FEW OTHER IDEAS FOR PERSONALIZING YOUR CONNECTION REQUESTS: Reference a specific article or piece of content they published that you enjoyed. Compliment them on their work or recent achievements. Ask them a question about something they’re passionate about.

Tip #5: Update your profile regularly. Updating your LinkedIn on a consistent basis is key to success. Many only update when they are actively looking for a job and miss out on making valuable connections.Recruiters are always looking at your LinkedIn and the more active you are, the more likely you are to be discovered for a new opportunity. Dedicate one time a month to update your profile based on your current responsibilities and key milestones. This will make it much easier to apply for new jobs as they come up. I recommend creating a calendar blocker or reminder for your monthly or quarterly LinkedIn update, which will make it much easier to re-enter the job search or discover opportunities.

Aleenah Ansari @AleenahAnsari

I’m excited to see you put yourself out there – good luck!

LadiesWhoLeverage.com | 25 | Summer 2022

Aleenah Ansari (she/her) is equal parts storyteller, creative problem solver, and journalist at heart who’s rooted in the stories of people behind products, companies, and initiatives. Her writing on travel, entrepreneurship and representation in media has also been featured by GLAAD, Kulfi, CNBC, Microsoft, The Seattle Times, and more. Outside of her day job as a product marketing manager at Microsoft, you can find her searching for murals, reading a book by a BIPOC author, and planning her next trip to NYC. Learn more at www.aleenahansari.com


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Leadership Skills: Shifting Criticism to Collaboration By: Pamela Georgiana, MBA

“I believe that we all become better leaders and better people when we work together for the good of our organization’s mission.”

As a leader, do you find it challenging to deliver constructive criticism? Do you feel the need to apologize or justify first? As female leaders, we tend to over apologize. I noticed this when I was an employee. There were so many times I’d hear these conversation starters from my managers:

“This is not a criticism, but....” “I hope you don’t mind me saying this, but...” “I’m sorry to say this, but...”

I knew what that meant; a critical comment was coming. I also believed the manager knew their opinion was flawed and wanted an “out” if proven wrong. If their feedback was not based on fact, why would they lead with an apology? Maybe the comment was truthful and would be ultimately helpful; it didn’t matter. I reflexively wanted to dismiss it because of how it was delivered. These openings close the door for future discussion. What is the point of offering feedback in this way? To show solidarity? To be less negative? To be a leader, not a dictator? Whatever the reason, it is not leadership.

LadiesWhoLeverage.com | 27 | Summer 2022


Setting expectations with the correct language and a sense of inclusion can make a huge difference in your leadership skills. By leading with collaboration, constructive criticism becomes the start of innovation, not the end of a conversation.

most women do extremely well. We know how to have a conversation, find out the missing details, and figure out how to work together to solve a problem. As leaders, we just need to learn to take it one step farther. If there is still a problem, we should find out why, without criticism or blame, and address it together.

Collaborative Feedback Coming from a place of collaboration makes constructive criticism much easier to take. Here are some more collaborative ways to start the conversation.

“Have you thought about addressing the situation in this way?” “Let’s work together to find a solution.” “Will this work?” “How would you address this aspect of the problem?” I’ve done this often in my career. As the marketing team leader for a nonprofit, my graphic designer was struggling to conceptualize a new visual identity for our rebrand. Although she had created beautiful designs, they were not suitable for the brand. I had to deliver this feedback to her in a way that wouldn’t crush her confidence and give her more direction as to what we needed to do next.

A Collaborative Approach I believe that we all become better leaders and better people when we work together for the good of our organization’s mission. I believe in collaboration. In his best-selling book, Start with Why, Simon Sinek says if you don’t know the WHY of any mission, problem, strategy, or decision, it will never be entirely successful. It is the first question a true leader would ask. They don’t assume to know all of the answers. Instead, they think, act, and communicate in a way that says, “I see a situation in a certain way, but I’m not sure I have all the details. Please educate me on this issue.”

It was a difficult but necessary conversation. I started by asking her what her thought process was for designing the work she submitted and reinforcing what I liked about it. As we talked, we uncovered some incorrect assumptions she had about the strategic intent of the rebrand. Then, we worked together to create a new set of outstanding, creative, and on-brand visuals. Setting expectations with the correct language and a sense of inclusion can make a huge difference in your leadership skills. By leading with collaboration, constructive criticism becomes the start of innovation, not the end of a conversation.

Author Pamela Georgiana, MBA @pam2733

This is leading with collaboration, something at which LadiesWhoLeverage.com | 28 | Summer 2022


LadiesWhoLeverage.com | 29 | Summer 2022


I’ve found that transformation comes when a woman is willing to dedicate 10 minutes of her day to go within and write. To intentionally drop down into her body and feel what’s going on for her, leaving the emails where they are, setting aside her social media and to-do list, to be truly present.

What You Can Gain from Daily Writing We’re all busy women. The last thing we need is another task to add to our to-do list. I hear you. Everyone’s experience with writing is unique. Increased feelings of self-worth, selflove and self-awareness are a few of the most common benefits I hear from the women I work with. I also hear about the flow effects these benefits have in every aspect of their life—their business, relationships, health and other areas. There’s only one way to become a writer: To write. Are you brave enough to stare down a blank page and embrace the flow a daily writing practice can bring?

Writing Prompts to Start With When you’re getting started, writing prompts can be helpful. You’ll notice your words begin to flow effortlessly with time and practice. Here are a few of my favorite writing triggers: What on my to-do list can wait until tomorrow? What steps have I taken today that have moved me closer to my goals? I am grateful for…

As you’re writing, shift your awareness into your body and notice what sensations arise. We spend most of our lives in the cognitive mind, completely disconnected from our bodies.

Sarah Cannata @StorytellingfortheSoul

LadiesWhoLeverage.com | 30 | Summer 2022


The holidays were very lonely for me in December of 2020. We were in the midst of a pandemic, and I lived in isolation in my condo in Palm Springs, California. My family lived in Brussels, Belgium, so building a cocoon with them was not possible. Each day was the same, and the uncertainty of when it would end exacerbated the loneliness. My previous life as a consultant and trainer of face-to-face networking came to a dead stop. No one knew when we would once again be mingling for conventions, corporate events, or parties that served as an opportunity to meet interesting people.

I remember the day I made the decision. I was on my deck, sipping my coffee, the sun shining brilliantly on the nearby mountains. Looking out at the horizon, astounded by nature’s beauty, I knew what I wanted to do. I was going to be a travel writer

I Made the Switch from Consultant to Travel Write. Here's How I Did it! By: Kathy Condon Embracing New Opportunities Despite the loneliness of living in isolation, I was able to enjoy the beauty of a Palm Spring morning in January. I began each day on the deck of my condo, coffee in hand, either reading or thinking about my next steps. The question before me: Did I want to continue my life as a consultant and trainer, or start a new career? I remember the day I made the decision. I was on my deck, sipping my coffee, the sun shining brilliantly on the nearby mountains.

LadiesWhoLeverage.com | 31 | Summer 2022

astounded by nature’s beauty, I knew what I wanted to do. I was going to be a travel writer. I loved to travel, even though my financial situation at the time could not support it. Despite this, I knew that if I focused, I could make it happen. I have always been a writer. I’ve written two books, one of which, It Doesn’t Hurt to Ask: It’s All About Communication, was a Best Book Finalist by USA Book News. I’m good at painting a picture so my point can be easily understood.


6 Steps to Start Travel Writing I spent hours upon hours conducting research, learning everything I could about how to become a travel writer. My existing skillset as a writer, networker, and communicator came together to help me land my first jobs.

Here are the steps I took to jumpstart my travel writing career.

Step 1. Build a Website I knew I wanted to build my website myself so I could make updates whenever I desired. After researching, it appeared WIX would be something this non-techie human might be able to do herself. Yes, I know people say Google Analytics loves WordPress, but I had experience trying to figure out WordPress years ago. I was too excited about starting this new career and website and didn’t want to get discouraged because of technology.

Step 2. Find a Domain Name Since I was not going to be able to travel, I remembered how much my visitors loved my tours of the area. There was so much to see and often missed because of the illusion that Palm Springs was only about people playing golf or sipping umbrella cocktails poolside. What if I named it the Palm Springs Insider Guide? Sure enough, it was available, and that is how my domain came into being. Today, I still add to it and have added tabs for one-half day, two-day, and three-day road trips from Palm Springs so I can keep sharing my new adventures in California.

Step 3. Establish Social Media Presence I used Facebook for a long time, Instagram for about a year, and Twitter occasionally. So, with this new vision, it was necessary now to learn how to use the sites more effectively, but I needed to post regularly. Thank goodness I had an updated mobile phone because it has become my constant companion to capture moments I use for social media. Explore the apps on your phone. You will be surprised by what you discover.

Step 4. Join a Community I made sure to join and be active in travel writer groups on Facebook and LinkedIn. These groups have become invaluable to me. No question is dumb, AND I am happy to say that I have found my travel writing mentor through Zoom meetings set up by various groups. Writing and planning travel trips can sometimes be lonely, so it is terrific to have someone to share the ups and downs.

Step 5. Sign up for Travel Writing Seminars I started attending online travel writing seminars, first as a way to learn more but also to network with other writers. Some important takeaways from these seminars were 1. Discover what editors and publications are looking for and pay attention to trends. 2. Learn how to format queries with your idea for an article you hope they will publish. 3. Learn how to ask for comped admissions, stays in hotels, and meals in return for social media posts and articles in various publications.

My Life Today I’ve been travel writing for a year and a half now and have traveled to Mammoth Lakes, Half Moon Bay, Buellton, and Oceanside -all in California. Each of these trips had a significant portion of the journey compensated by the organization sponsoring me. In addition, I have published articles in ten publications. As I write this article, I am in a magnificent home with a view of our beautiful sun-drenched mountains in Palm Springs, dog sitting for an adorable pug. There is a gigantic need for dog sitters who stay overnight in homes. I saw the void, so I decided dog sitting, staying in beautiful homes away from my home distractions, and getting paid for it while writing was a terrific gig. I would never have dreamed that a decision I made on January 1, 2021, would help me be so happy every day. However, I credit myself for taking steps daily to make my travel writing career a reality. This month I am taking a road trip to Concord, California. What comes after that trip? I’m not sure, but I do know that I will follow the path set before me with confidence and the belief that “Everything always works out for me.”

Author:

Kathy Condon @PalmSpringsInsiderGuide

LadiesWhoLeverage.com | 32 | Summer 2022


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Are you ready to live life unapologetically AF? This book is not for the faint of heart. It’s for women who want to learn how to anticipate, short-circuit, and out-navigate the people, places and predicaments that will keep them from being great. In Unapologetic AF, Kelly Charles-Collins shares her life lessons, strategies, and wisdom gained from a personal and professional life of twists, turns, and detours. From a single mother on welfare to powerhouse attorney and multiple six-figure professional speaker and CEO, Kelly reveals:

·

the conflicts that became lessons

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the diversions and detours that shaped who she has become

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the moments that led her to owning her power

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the techniques that have paved the way for her success

In her salt of the earth, unapologetic AF style, Kelly guides you through 34 ways she unleashes her badassery as she navigates this journey called life. Wherever you are on your journey, Kelly’s strategies and techniques will empower you with the courage to unleash you inner badass - no matter what - so you can live life unapologetically AF.

www.KellysAmazon.com LadiesWhoLeverage.com | 34 | Summer 2022


LadiesWhoLeverage.com | 35 | Summer 2022


Phase 2: Follicular

Phase 3: Ovulation

This phase is all about new beginnings. You’ll start to feel more energetic and optimistic. Your estrogen is on the rise and it’s time to utilize your imagination and creativity. This is the “dream big” phase -- use it to your advantage. This is the time for learning!

During this phase, estrogen is at its highest. Weiss describes this phase as “magnetic” because people are scientifically drawn to us. Most Likely, you’ll feel in the groove of things. This is the time to schedule important meetings, speaking events, and launches. As Weiss says, “Go ahead and be seen because this is your time to shine.”

During this phase, you could try... starting new projects mapping new ideas brainstorming and collaborating

During this phase, you could try... scheduling public speaking events launching a new service/product conducting sales calls

Phase 4: Luteal During this phase, your body is preparing for menstruation. Progesterone levels are rising and you might start to feel introspective. This is the time to focus on behind-the-scenes work and finalize any loose ends. Weiss also explains that you should leverage your premenstrual symptoms – lean into your intuition and use your authority to make firm business decisions.

During this phase, you could try... scheduling events (but not doing them) completing administrative tasks you’ve been putting off reviewing goals and objectives for long-term projects

Understanding how your body operates within these four phases can allow you to gain confidence, clarity, and more opportunities. As women, it is important that we understand how to use our natural cycles to our advantage. “There are four different types of women inside of us,” says Weis. “Let’s unleash them all!” Author:

Angela Repke @angelarepke

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